War of the Rebellion: Serial 015 Page 0279 Chapter XXIV. GENERAL REPORTS.

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brothers-in-law--a statement now proven to be without foundation. In fact, at the time of the inauguration of the present administration I was a stranger to every one of the Cabinet.

Whatever check or disaster the Army of the Potomac incurred on the Peninsula was attributed to my failure to re-enforce that army when I could do so and to my having broken it up as soon as its commander was out of sight of the capital.

I think I have rather underrated this case than otherwise.

I will now give the facts. With the view of combining the protection of the capital with such operations as would aid those of the main army, as soon as my corps was separated from General McClellan I pushed it to the front. At Catlett's I received the order for Franklin's division to leave me and join General McClellan on the Peninsula, and an order from the Department directing me to consider the capital under my especial protection, and-

To make no movement throwing my force out of position for the discharge of this primary duty!

On General Franklin's leaving me, I sent word by him to General McClellan (which the latter acknowledges having received) that I would endeavor to make a demonstration or diversion in his favor by way of Fredericksburg. This General McClellan says was no part of his plan nor was it in obedience to any orders from the Government, though done with the consent of the War Department.

The advance of my forces got to Fredericksburg and drove the enemy from that place, but did not succeed in saving the bridges, which had been prepared for burning and were fired by the enemy as he passed over.

April 22 I telegraphed:

If a steam ferry-boat could be sent there (Fredericksburg) it could be used to great advantage. There are stores in Fredericksburg (more than 1,000 barrels of flour) which I am anxious to save for fear of accident, and am anxious to have free communication with the opposite shore as soon as possible.

I then received the following:

WAR DEPARTMENT, Washington, D. C., April 24, 1862.

Major-General McDOWELL:

The President desires that you should not throw your force across the Rappahannock at present, but that you should get your bridges and transportation all nearly ready and wait further orders.

EDWIN M. STANTON.

On the 26th of April I telegraphed the Department as follows:

Twenty canal-boats and a sterm ferry-boat (which I had asked for) arrived yesterday at Fredericksburg without molestation. It is reported by General King that numerous complaints reach him from Union men in Fredericksburg of outrages received at the hands of secessionists; that small cavalry pickets some into town at night harassing Union men and carrying them off south for no other purpose [reason] than fidelity to the Union. They ask protection. Will it meet with the sanction of the President if I throw not exceeding a battalion of infantry and a small force of cavalry into the town, protected by the artillery on this side, for the purpose of affording protection and saving the supplies?

On the 29th of April I telegraphed the Department as follows:

The enemy's pickets, however, continue to show themselves on the hills in the rear of Fredericksburg, and during the night come into the town to harass the few Union men left there. Five or six have been arrested and carried off toward Richmond. For several nights past the rumbling of wagons leaving town has been heard, and residents say they are loaded with corn and other supplies. Urgent appeals for protec-